Some years ago, in Lent 2015, Pope Francis presented the people in St. Peter’s Square with a special leaflet entitled “Guard the Heart”, which was delivered by several homeless people in Rome and which has a number of important resources for the path of conversion towards Easter.
Among the various resources raised by the Holy Father is an conscience examination:
30 questions to make a good confession, as well as a brief explanation of the reasons for going to the sacrament.
When asked why confess, the brochure answers: “because we are sinners! In other words, we think and act contrary to the Gospel. Whoever claims to be without sin is a liar or blind. In the sacrament, God the Father forgives those who, having denied their status as children, confess their sins and acknowledge the Mercy of God.
To confess, the text continues, it is necessary to begin “by listening to the voice of God” followed by “conscience examination, repentance and the purpose of amendment, the invocation of Divine Mercy that is freely granted to us through absolution , the confession of sins to the priest, the satisfaction or fulfillment of the penance imposed, and finally, with the praise of God through a renewed life.
CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS
Since the sin of only one damages the body of Christ that is the Church, the sacrament also has the effect of reconciliation with the brothers.
How to Confess?
It is not always easy to confess: you do not know what to say, it is believed that it is not necessary to go to the priest … Nor is it easy to confess well: today as yesterday, the greatest difficulty is the requirement to reorient our thoughts, words and actions that because of us, they distance us from the Gospel. A path of authentic conversion, which carries with it a“ negative ”aspect of liberation from sin, and another“ positive ”aspect of choosing the good taught by the Gospel of Jesus, is necessary
This is the context for the dignified celebration of the sacrament of Penance. The way to do it begins with listening to the God’s Voice and continues with examining your conscience, repentance and purpose of amendment, the invocation of Divine Mercy that is freely granted to us through the absolution, the confession of the sins to the priest, the satisfaction or fulfillment of the penance imposed, and finally, with the praise of God through a renewed life.
What to confess:
“He who wants to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church must confess to the priest all the serious sins he has not yet confessed and which he remembers, after carefully examining his awareness.
Confession of venial faults is strongly recommended by the Church ». (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1493)
In relation to God:
Do I only turn to God just in need? Do I regularly attend Mass on Sundays and holidays? Do I start and end my journey with prayer? Do I use the name of God, of the Virgin, of the saints in vain? Have I been ashamed of manifesting myself as a Catholic? What do I do to grow spiritually, how do I do it, when do I do it? Do I stand against God’s projects? Do I expect Him to do my will?
In relation to my neighbour:
Do I know how to forgive, do I have understanding, do I help my neighbours? Do I mercilessly judge both in thought and in words? Have I slandered, robbed, despised the humble and the defenseless? Am I envious, angry, or partial? Am I ashamed of my brothers, do I worry about the poor and the sick? Am I honest and fair with everyone or do I nurture the discard culture? Do I incite others to do evil? Do I observe the conjugal and family morality taught by the Gospel? How do I fulfill my responsibility of my children’s education? Do I honor my parents? Have I rejected the newly conceived life? Have I collaborated to do it? Do I respect the environment?
In relation to myself:
Am I a little worldly and a little believer? Do I eat, drink, smoke, or have too much fun? Do I worry too much about my physical health, my assets? How do I use my time? Am I lazy? Do I like to be served? Do I love and cultivate purity of heart, thoughts and actions? Do I nurture revenge, do I feed grudges? Am I merciful, humble, and a peace builder?
Jesus, my Lord and Redeemer, I repent of all the sins that I have committed until today, and I am truly sorry because by doing so I have offended such a good God.
I am firmly determined not to sin again and I trust that by your Infinite Mercy you will grant me forgiveness of my sins, and you will lead me to eternal life.